Does the Bloc really hold Québec's interests above it's own?
Is the Conservative Party serious about ending western alienation?
Will either party keep their promise to keep their promises?
If the Bloquistes and the Tories have any intention of doing so, they can make it clear by supporting a single issue: proportional representation.
More precisely, proportional representation by province.
As far as keeping their promises goes, I think this issue is pretty simple: while their votes on the subject were still meaningless, both the Bloc Québécois and the Conservatives supported, at the very least, considering PR.
But what, you may ask, does proportional representation have to do with the separation of Québec or the alienation of the West?
Well, that's where the "by province" becomes so important.
Proportional representation is intended to ensure that each party's share of the seats in parliament is roughly proportional to their share of the popular vote. But, while seldom discussed in the debate over PR, such a system could -- just as easily -- provide this outcome by requiring that each party's share of the seats from each province is roughly proportional to their share of the popular vote in each province.
Let me admit that I'm NDP through and through -- I have a partisan interest in a proportional system.
I'm not Québéçois, either. Nor am I a Westerner. I'm not a conservative, nor a sovereigntist.
I'm a progressive Newfoundlander -- but I'm a Canadian first.
And as a Canadian, the only thing I want to see more than Jack Layton with a fifty seat caucus, is Conservatives elected from Québec and New Democrats elected from Alberta.
Afterall, why do Québécers want to leave the greatest country in the world?
Maybe it's because they've only every had one other viable political choice -- the Liberals (I'd want to leave too!).
And why do Westerners feel that they have no voice?
Maybe it's because electing any more than a few of them actually seems to stop parties from forming government.
What could be better than electing people who agree with each other from all different provinces?
How about electing people who disagree with each other all from the same province?
As those who've read my individual blog will know, I write mostly about political strategy. As this was my virgin post to the prestigious E-Group, though, I thought I'd tackle a little substance -- if just a little substance.
The two largest opposition parties have enjoyed eleven years of being able to undermine the government without consequence.
Now they've got themselves a minority parliament.
They've got themselves a parliament in which every voice will be heard.
And, they've got an issue on which such voices could be heard for generations.
Now: What have they got to say for themselves?